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7 Series - E38 (1995 - 2001)

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  #1  
Old 12-20-2010, 08:47 AM
Frank_Bullitt Frank_Bullitt is offline
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Location: Manhattan, KS
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 23
Mein Auto: '98 528i w/M5 appr & whls
Looking to buy an E38

Hello all!
Just joined like 5 mins ago. I do not own a BMW (yet), although I am in the process of taking the plunge (see below). I like the E38 series as it is 'classic' BMW, but was often scared off by the horror stories of owners.

My question is that I ran across a BMW that caught my eye; a 1998 BMW 740i. It was a local trade in at a Cadillac dealership, clean inside and out and according to the dealer all maintenance is up to date, and has (wait for it) 35,720 miles. I know low mileage isn't necessarily a good thing if it has been sitting for a while, but assuming nothing has dry-rotted and the maintenance records are all there, is getting an older lower mileage E38 a good deal or did it have teething problems early on?

I understand that this was a $70K+ car new and is not going to be a Honda Civic wrt maintenance and upkeep and my pocketbook is braced for that, but I just want to know what I'm getting myself into if I buy it.

Thanks all!
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  #2  
Old 12-20-2010, 04:18 PM
balance balance is offline
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Location: NC
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 766
Mein Auto: 97 740iL
Welcome to the forum Frank_Bullitt.

The only part that I can think of right now that may have been upgraded was the expansion tank. The early ones had a yellowish color on the bottom and were prone to cracking under pressure and leaking coolant. The newer designed expansion tanks has an all black construction and should last longer than the originals.

As far as the low milage, I've heard that if a car rarely gets driven or used, and then you start using the options/features of it, parts will break. There was an old Lincoln Towncar in the back of a dealership I was working at that sat for a few years. After it got jump-started and sold, the next week the customer brought it back saying that the two window regulators in the rear both broke on the same day. I guess the weather changes and the fact that these parts were not used for a while took their toll on the plastic pieces and caused them to break the first time they were used after all that time spent sitting. If they were used normally and did not spend all that time in the same position, they would probably not have broken.

That being said, I would get it if the price was right and if I could check to make sure that all of the options/features worked BEFORE buying it. I would take it on a long test drive and check if the A/C system was still holding freon, I would check to make sure that all of the windows, door locks, radio, climate controls, and any other electrical buttons worked in the interior. If everything checked out I would buy it and change all of the fluids, do a tune up and maybe do a charging system test before I trusted it as a daily driver.
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  #3  
Old 12-20-2010, 08:05 PM
Ultm8drvnmchn Ultm8drvnmchn is offline
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Location: Colorado,USA
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 243
Mein Auto: 98 740il
If the mileage was put on in a somewhat regular basis, then most of the accesories will probably be ok. The fact that you have maintainance records to review is the biggest part of the puzzle to me. Follow the advice of balance, take it on a good long test drive and try every accessory to make sure it working properly. If the price is right, then I would jump on it. That car will last you forever if you continue good maintanence.
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